xtranormal is a tool that allows you to create animated videos simply by typing in your script.  You have control over your characters, the voices, the backgrounds, even technical stuff like camera angles.  Many teachers at MRU have used this tool with students.  Andrew Reid's CP Biology students recently made videos describing current environmental threats, and addressing how those threats can be reduced through the use of new technologies.  Cindy Robert's classes have also used xtranormal to make videos describing their team strategy for succeeding in the stock market game.  Scroll down to check out some of their amazing work!

Here's a basic comic tutorial for xtranormal (created by Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones):

Some on the ground tips from MRU classrooms:

  • Be careful when choosing characters and backgrounds.  Your free account only comes with 300XP (xtranormal points) and you'll need to choose the cheaper characters and backgrounds in order to have enough XP left to publish your movie.  You'll see a running total of your movie's costs at the top of your screen.
  • Don't make your script too long.  The longer your movie is, the longer it will take to render and publish, and the more chance of things getting hung up.  Try to keep your time to 2 minutes or less for the best chances of success.
  • Be careful when you type in your script.  Your characters will read everything as typed, even mistakes.  Listen all the way through before publishing.
  • Some voices are more understandable than others.  If you're having trouble understanding the voice, try another voice, or make some changes in your script to eliminate words that are causing problems with the audio.
  • Some backgrounds allow you to insert your own still images and video (the first example here is a demo of this - the picture of wind turbines was inserted by the students).  If you want to use this function, make sure you choose the correct backgrounds before typing in your script.  Changing backgrounds mid-edit can lose your script (so you'd have to retype it in).
  • Create your script first, then copy and paste into the character boxes when you're ready.
  • Spend at least twice as much time on your script as you spend creating effects, choosing characters, camera angles, etc.